Hindu American Foundation Faces Desertion in Supporters on Caste Report
Hindu American Foundation’s ill-prepared and ill-promoted report on Caste has backfired on its face.
A prominent endorsee of the report, Dr. N. S. Rajaram, a historian and professor of history of science at University of Massachusetts withdrew his support for the report.
“You are aware that I have largely been supportive of your initiative on caste. But this latest antic by your ‘Human Rights Coordinator’ Ramesh Rao places it in a different light altogether,” he said in his terse note dated January 1 to the President of Hindu American Foundation, Dr. Mihir Meghani.
“I know of Ramesh Rao, whom I consider a charlatan and mercenary. His gratuitous mixing racism and Ramayana suggests that he is working to a different agenda using your organization as a front. After this your report will command no credibility in serious circles, and I cannot endorse it”, said Professor Rajaram who has published several books on India’s history and archeology.
Even a bigger setback to HAF adventure came from Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Chairman of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, the largest apex body of Hindu acharyas throughout the world.
“I request you to withdraw the report immediately from the website until we have a consensus among all the Hindu leaders”, said Swamiji in a letter to Mihir Meghani on January 2, 2011.
It is notable that Swami Dayanand ji is listed as one of the major endorsers of the HAF report. Swamiji had initially distanced himself from the report itself, but has now come out against the report unless a consensus is reached amongst Hindu leaders.
In his message to HAF he provided some guidance to HAF for future actions. “I have been reading some of the E-mails regarding your recent report ‘Hinduism: Not cast in caste’. I am very happy to learn that different people are reviewing the report. One of them I know, is revising the whole report.”
This was a clear message to HAF to include views of the larger community.
In August 2010, World Association of Vedic Studies (WAVES) held the biennial International conference in Trinidad-Tobago when representatives of HAF made their presentations on their report on caste. Many participants in the conference felt that the presentations were not a complete and true representation and that the issues related to jaati (also called caste) in Indian tradition required further scholarly deliberations.
In early December 2010, HAF released their report on caste with an online pdf document which has been undergoing some revisions.
Since the announcement of release of HAF report many pro- and con- voices have been heard. Some have also called for a revision or total rewrite of the report because many view points have not been fully highlighted in the report.
While we hope that HAF will follow the guidance of Pujya Swamiji, it is important to set up a framework to arrive at a consensus among all the Hindu leaders, as proposed by Swamiji.
In this regard, it is learnt that WAVES is considering to convene an academic and scholarly forum, in Dallas, Texas, inviting scholars and Hindu samajam leaders to continue these ongoing deliberations in a calm atmosphere for fair and balanced consideration of the issues.
Sarasvati Research Centre
(A multi-disciplinary non-profit research organisation on Hindu Civilization)
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